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The union bond is more relevant today than it has ever been – let’s celebrate – LabourList

When we organize political training events for union activists, we usually start with a bit of history. We pull out the People’s History Museum printout of the minutes of the Labor Party’s first parliamentary meeting and discuss it as a group. When these first Labor MPs met, all trade unionists, they discussed their shared priorities – including union rights, school meals, women’s representation, pensions, housing, length of the working day, safety at work. Sound familiar? Frankly, that could be the minutes from last week.

The Labor Party was founded, out of the labor movement, to be a political voice for working people – and ultimately to form a government to govern in the interests of working people, their families and their communities. This is why the union link is more relevant today than it has ever been – because it is a living, breathing link with millions of workers and workplaces in all regions of the country.

Unions were founded in the heat of the Industrial Revolution to fight for better wages and conditions, and unions are organising, campaigning, bargaining and winning for workers across the UK every day. Want a better offer at work? Unionize. But we also need a government that will stand up to workers: by enshrining the rights that workers should be able to count on, by giving unions new rights to help them organize and win for their members, by undoing unjust restrictions on unions acting to defend their members’ wages and conditions, and putting power back in the hands of workers.

This is why Labour’s new pact for workers is so important. Drafted by Andy McDonald, in partnership with affiliated unions, and launched at a conference last year by Angela Rayner, Keir Starmer promised it would be signed into law within 100 days of a Labor government victory. This is the union link in action.

  • Labor will strengthen rights at work for all workers, from the first day of work.
  • Labor will end the fire and rehire.
  • Workforce will make work more family-friendly and facilitate the balance between work and home, community and family life.
  • Labor will ban zero-hour contracts and guarantee everyone the right to regular hours they can count on.
  • Labor will strengthen union rights, increasing wages and conditions.
  • Labor will implement fair pay agreements to raise wages and conditions for all workers, using sectoral collective bargaining.

Better rights, stronger unions, higher wages – a comprehensive plan to improve the lives of workers by strengthening individual and collective rights. It is a political platform around which we can unite and of which we can be proud.

What can labor and union activists do to help build support for the new pact AND strengthen the union bond? Read it. Return. Share it.

  • Read it. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the comprehensive plan that the Labor Party offers. Read the full document or take a look at our short summary of the main issues.
  • Return. Sign up to support the new deal and for union campaign updates. Submit our model motion to your constituency Labor Party (CLP) so that your local party can sign up to support the new deal and take practical steps to strengthen the union bond in your community.
  • Share it. Talk about these issues on your doorstep ahead of the local elections in May or in your workplace. Connect with unions in your area to work together on sharing Labor’s new deal with their members.

The new deal isn’t just the right plan for the government – it’s also a key part of our road to power. To win the support of the broad coalition of voters we must unite to win, we must demonstrate that we understand voters’ lives and can be trusted to make them better.

Bills are skyrocketing, but the value of workers payment packages are decreasing. After 12 years of Conservative government, working poverty is at an all-time high, with one in six working families living in poverty. Britain needs a pay rise – and Labor has a clear plan to raise wages with stronger union rights to help unions organize and win, and fair pay deals to rise wages and conditions in entire sectors. Workplace issues unite voters in every part of the country – that’s why Labour’s plan to improve work, jobs and wages must be at the heart of the story we tell the country and make part of the vision we use to inspire voters.

It is our connections to the labor movement that make us the Party of Labor and give us unique insight into the lives of the workers we seek to represent. This HeartUnions week, it has been a joy to see Labor representatives and activists come together and celebrate the labor movement and urge everyone to join a union. The union link has existed for more than a century, but it must be worked on, safeguarded and strengthened for the future.

If we can do this, Labor and the broader labor movement can together shape a vision that will transform lives and also win hearts, minds and votes. Just as those first Labor MPs decided to do in 1906, we can achieve our main goal: to govern in the interests of working people, their families and their communities.

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